Appealing a Criminal Court or Traffic Court Conviction for Pro Se (unrepresented) Litigants
(sec. 200.33 Uniform Rules, sec. 460.10 and 460.70(1) CPL)
NOTE: These instructions are primarily for pro se (unrepresented) defendants. If you intend on retaining an attorney for the appeal, you should still file your Notice of Appeal (see # 1 below) to protect your rights. Your attorney can thereafter "perfect" the appeal.
NOTE: If you believe that you are entitled to assigned counsel or if you wish to proceed without an attorney, but wish to request poor person status for payment of the transcripts on the appeal because of indigency, you must make an application to the appellate court (County Court) for poor person status. If granted by the County Court, you must file a copy of the Order of the County Court with the City Court. You should file your Notice of Appeal (see # 1 below) within thirty (30) days of your conviction before making application to the County Court. This will protect your right to continue with the appeal should your application for poor person status be denied.
NOTE: If you are represented by an attorney at the time of the conviction, your attorney should, if so instructed, file the Notice of Appeal. Be sure to advise your attorney at the time of the conviction that you wish to appeal so that the Notice of Appeal may be filed within the proper time limits. If you have assigned counsel at the time of conviction, your assigned counsel will need to make an application to the County Court for him/her to continue as assigned counsel on the appeal.
The defendant to a criminal/traffic case may appeal to have his/her conviction reviewed by a judge of the County Court.
1. Within thirty (30) days from the date of conviction, file (by mail or in person) two copies (original and copy) of a written Notice of Appeal with the City Court that heard and decided the case. The Notice should contain the caption of the case, the docket number associated with that case, and a statement that you (as the "appellant") appeal the conviction. You must also include your address in the Notice of Appeal.
You must also mail/deliver a copy of the Notice of Appeal to the prosecuting attorney (this would be the Chemung County District Attorneys Office) and file an Affidavit of Service For Appeals with the Court.
2. If there was a Court Reporter at trial: If a Court Reporter was present in the Courtroom for the trial, you must contact that reporter and request a transcript of the trial. You must advise the Court Reporter that there is an appeal pending of the City Court decision and the reporter is then required to provide you with an estimate of the cost of 2 copies of the transcripts. If you wish to obtain a copy of the transcript for your records, you must make those arrangements directly with the reporter.
The cost of the preparation of a transcript (both the court's original and any copy for your record) is solely your responsibility so you must request an estimate of the cost of the transcript before ordering the transcript (Note: this is only an estimate and the actual cost may be less or more than the estimate). The reporter may require an advance deposit before starting the transcript and will require payment of the balance before releasing the transcript. (Note: If you have been granted poor person status by the County Court, you must file the Order of the County Court with the City Court to avoid the cost of the transcript.)
If there was no Court Reporter at the trial: If there was no court reporter at the trial, the trial will have been taped on audio cassette. If this is the case, then you will need to request a transcript be prepared. Your request, made directly to the transcription service, must contain the date(s) of the trial/plea/sentence/other proceedings that you wish to have transcribed (List of approved transcript services). The transcription service will notify the Court and the audio tape will be sent to the transcription service that you select.
It is your responsibility to pay for the cost of the two transcripts: one which will be filed with the Court and one for yourself. You should be aware that the Court will not provide you with a copy of the transcript(s)). You must request a cost estimate of the transcript(s) before ordering the transcript(s). (Note: this is only an estimate and the actual cost may be less or more than the estimate). The transcription service may require an advance deposit before starting the transcript and will require payment of the balance before releasing the transcript. (Note: If you have been granted poor person status by the County Court, you must file the Order of the County Court with the City Court to avoid the cost of the transcript.)
3. After the City Court has received the original transcript(s), the City Court will file a "Return" (that is, the City Court file including the transcript) with the County Court. The City Court will notify the appellant that the "Return" has been filed with the County Court.
4. At this point, the matter is now to be considered by the County Court. If you wish to file additional documentation with the County Court, you should contact the County Court Clerk's office on the procedure for submitting additional documents. Copies of any documents that you provide to the Court should always be provided to the prosecuting attorney.
5. If, after you have started an appeal, you change your mind and wish to discontinue or withdraw the appeal, you must notify the City Court and County Court, in writing, of the discontinuance. You should also notify the prosecuting attorney that you will not be proceeding with the appeal. Of course, you will also be responsible for any costs associated with the appeal including any portion of the transcript that has already been prepared.
6. After the appeal has been decided by the County Court, a copy of that Decision will be mailed to you at the most recent address on file with the County Court.
NOTE: You may visit the Supreme Court Library located in your county for legal references on the filing of an appeal. Court personnel cannot provide legal advice.